Wheat is an important part of many crop rotations, adding value directly and often indirectly by aiding in soil water management and weed suppression, reducing erosion, and helping manage pest cycles. Consider wheat's value to your crop production system by looking at what it contributes over multiple years of the rotation.
Timely control of weeds following winter wheat harvest can limit soil moisture loss to weeds and prevent the deposit of more weed seeds in the soil, two factors that can benefit the next crop's yield. In addition, timely control of volunteer wheat is essential in reducing the spread of wheat streak mosaic disease. See what influences effectiveness of weed control and how to make your crop more competitive.
By far, the greatest risk of losses from mite-vectored viruses occurs when there is a summer "green bridge" of volunteer wheat emerging before harvest. This almost always occurs as a result of wheat seed head shatter from hail storms (Figure 1).
Report of this week's wheat disease survey: On May 3 stripe rust was observed for the first time at the UNL Havelock Farm in Lincoln, where incidence was low and severity ranged from trace to high. t the Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead on May 3, infections had spread from small hot spots one to two weeks earlier to larger areas in research plots, and leaf damage was apparent Wheat growth stage at these two locations ranged from flag leaf emergence to heading. On May 5, field surveys found stripe rust to be widespread in the west central and southern Panhandle of Nebraska. The flag leaf had not emerged or was just starting to emerge in these parts of the state. Wheat mosaic virus was identified in Deuel County.
Although Nebraska’s planted wheat acres are at record lows, producers should expect high yields. Favorable growing conditions, including a mild winter and abundant precipitation, has Nebraska wheat positioned to achieve wheat yields not seen in the past five years. However, farmers should scout carefully for wheat rust and be prepared to treat any outbreaks in a timely manner.
This week the National Drought Monitor rated almost 25% of Nebraska as "abnormally dry," a major change from 0% since Jan. 1. Most of the affected area was along the southern tier of Nebraska counties.